18 Dec 2020
The Inquiry aims to be open and transparent as possible. Provisions will be put in place to ensure there is sufficient public and media access to all open evidence hearings. For the Inquiry’s Tranche 1 (Phase 2) evidence hearings, these provisions include a screening venue in Central London, a live transcript and an audio transmission accessible via a Zoom webinar.
The Chairman wants to create the optimal conditions for getting to the truth by hearing evidence in full from all sides. In his statement of 19 December 2018, he set out his views on why live-streaming of the evidence for certain witnesses would be incompatible with protecting their rights and interests and may infringe restriction orders made.
The Inquiry’s hearings in November 2020
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Inquiry’s hearings in November 2020 were virtual and conducted remotely.
The opening statements from Counsel to the Inquiry and core participants were all live-streamed via the Inquiry’s website.
For the evidence hearings, the Inquiry set up a bespoke screening venue in Central London, open to all core participants, their legal representatives and media representatives. Members of the public were not able to attend due to the national restrictions related to the pandemic in place at the time. However, the summaries of witness evidence read out by members of the Inquiry team were live-streamed on the Inquiry website, and a live transcript of the oral evidence was streamed to the Inquiry’s website with a 10-minute delay. Draft transcripts were typically published shortly after the morning session and again at the end of the day.
The Inquiry’s hearings in April and May 2021
Due to the continuing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the arrangements for the Inquiry’s hearings in April and May 2021 were similar to the Inquiry’s hearings in November 2020, with the following changes:
- The bespoke screening venue in Central London was also be open to members of the public who had registered to attend;
- Proceedings could also be followed via an audio stream with a 10-minute delay; and
- If a witness requested an audio-visual stream for their evidence, this was provided on YouTube with a 10-minute delay.